Many studies show a strong link between earning a college degree and receiving higher wages (for example, Carnevale, Jayasundera, & Gulish, 2015). Consequently, a large body of research is published each year analyzing indicators of progress toward increased college enrollment and completion (for example, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2012, 2013a, 2013b, 2014). Such studies typically follow first-time, full-time college freshmen for three years to measure progress toward a two-year degree and for six years to measure progress toward a four-year degree. However, information is needed on college enrollment and completion among all high school graduates, including those who delay enrollment, to provide a more complete picture of this issue and to illuminate challenges that college enrollees face in earning degrees. This study used data from the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and the National Student Clearinghouse to explore Tennessee students' college histories. It measured, by semester from fall 2007 through spring 2013, the public college enrollment rate of the cohort of students who graduated from a Tennessee public high school in 2007; the cohort's two-, four-, and six-year public college persistence and completion rates; and the number of credits and the grade point averages that fulltime enrollees in Tennessee public colleges accumulated in their first year and their grade point average during that time. Some results are broken down by race/ethnicity, and others are broken down by gender and high school urbanicity. This study, a collaborative effort between Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, responds to Tennessee stakeholders' need to better understand college outcomes of the state's high school graduates. The findings provide context for Tennessee's efforts to promote the college readiness of its high school graduates, including programs such as the Tennessee Promise scholarship, which makes two years of community or technical college free for eligible students. A companion study explores outcomes for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (Rolfhus, House, Douglas, & Leeds, 2017).
ERIC DescriptorsAchievement Gap, African American Students, Cohort Analysis, College Students, Educational Attainment, Enrollment Rate, Gender Differences, Grade Point Average, High School Graduates, Hispanic American Students, Metropolitan Areas, Minority Group Students, Outcomes of Education, Postsecondary Education, Public Colleges, Racial Differences, Rural Schools, Rural Urban Differences, Student Characteristics, Two Year Colleges, White Students
Appalachia | Publication Type: Descriptive Study | Publication
Date: February 2017